Lately my direct messages have been reserved for messages from my Twitter followers who have incorrectly clicked on a link proclaiming things like “LMAO can’t believe ur in this facebook vid”…I know enough to never click on these links. These type of spammy messages are part of the social media territory, it’ also part of the reason why I don’t regularly check my direct messages. But yesterday I got a message that struck me. I received a direct message on Twitter from our very own President of the United States. Here it is:
Now, I’m not so delusional to think that my boy Barack is chilling out in the White House flipping through his Twitter followers, spotted one of my killer tweets, and said “man, I need to hit Dessi up with a DM about the election.” But what I do know is that his direct message sent from his team got my attention. It was creative, gentle, appropriate, and it will work. He’s not asking for a vote here. He’s asking me to help “turn out the vote” to support our democratic process. So by virtue of doing a few things in succession he wins. Firstly he compliments me "Use your twitter influence", then he asks me to support democracy - who could turn that down? Then finally he wants my support, but it’s done subtly. He asks for me to follow @Obama2012. His teams has also followed me, and they know that anyone who understands Twitter will realize that in order to send a direct message that they would have had to follow me first. Again, subtle, but this causes immediate affinity. That moment of “oh, cool – he’s following me back.”
I don’t like to speak of my political or religious proclivities publicly, and I’d like to keep things that way. The reason why I’m writing this blog post isn't to support or slander any candidate – it’s to state my opinion based on the subject of social media. I've written here that social media is dead because everything is social media. I believe this from the core of my being. I've even gone so far as stating in my book that social media is more of a spiritual awakening rather than a technological one because of the ubiquity, speed and power of social media as it functions today. I also believe that part of the reason why Barack Obama is our president today is that his team has been digitally savvy from the beginning. Even allowing for negative conversations about the President to happen under the digital umbrella of the Presidency. This “convene, don’t control” mentality is what had (in my mind) endeared so many young voters to President Obama in the first election in 2008. He had allowed them to voice their opinions in a public forum without shutting them down. This is what the younger generation has come to expect. Their shopping experiences allow for this, why wouldn't their political leaders?
In this instance - by sending social media followers a direct message about supporting the democratic process his digital team serves up another victory. It’s not pushy, or invasive, and it costs nothing. He’s hitting the voters where we live – online and in social networks. His people understand that sending me a DM is going to be more powerful for a guy like me rather than sending a direct mail piece. And for the record – I’m a married 37 yr old father of two, not 27 and certainly not an 18-year-old first time voter. This thinking – this forward progressive way of viewing outreach, engagement and political process is what I think will help Barak Obama win this election. Regardless of which way I vote, you have to respect his team, and this type of social media marketing endeavor.